What is abortion? Is it the killing of a defense less child or is it the freedom of a woman. In the case of the latter, it is easy to see how abortion can be very beneficial for the mother. Perhaps she is a teenager who is too young and too scared for such an awesome responsi bility or perhaps she simply does not have the resources for or want another child. The situation becomes more complicated when the father of the fetus wants the baby. Does the father, whose very DNA was transferred to the fetus, have any right to determine whether the mother receives an abortion or is the decision totally that of the mother, who must endure the nine month pregnancy and the birthing process as well as any lingering physical or psychological effects.
Even if abortion is considered the killing of a defenseless child, serious and difficult questions cannot be avoided. Certainly, it is illegal and immoral to kill a week old baby; but can the same be said of the termina tion of a week old fetus? When does a fetus become a life entitled to the same protection as a newborn baby or when is it too late to end a pregnancy? Some would say at any point before birth; however, a fetus can be viable and live outside its mother's womb quite some time before its natural birth otherwise would occur. Is that the point at which abortion is inappropriate and, thus, illegal as well as immoral? While there are those who would answer in the affirmative, many would argue that a life entitled to protection began at the time of concep tion, the entry of a sperm cell into the egg.
In any event, abortion must be viewed as an issue with many angles. If a person is pro-life, is he or she opposed to abortion altogether, is there a period early in the pregnancy that the fetus may be appropriately terminated, or are there circumstances, such as rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother, that justify ending a pregnancy? If another person is pro-choice, is he or she in favor of abortion on demand at any time, regardless of the fetus' viability. As is true of most complex issues, the matter of abortion raises a multitude of questions that elicit a variety of answers and opions.